Or should I say, the dragon is I ? Either way, it’s a bit of a shocking realization: after all my huffing and puffing about the evils of the internet dragon, I discover that the real monster is myself.
Why? Because I don’t want to be friends with the people I meet on the internet. Cold, indifferent, heartless, that’s me. I’m using the internet purely as a tool to advance my ideas and attempt to elbow my way into the Great Conversation.
It’s not that I’m scared. Oh, I’ve heard plenty of stories about people being completely taken in by characters they’ve met online. But I don’t really think any of the nice mummy bloggers I’ve been in contact with is going to turn out to be a dangerous creep in disguise. I’m not concerned that I don’t have enough screening programmes, or that I don’t have enough time to check up on everything. The problem is not that it’s too hard. The problem is that it’s too easy.
It’s just too easy to be friends with people you don’t have to live with. It’s too easy to like people you can dispense with by a click of the mouse as soon as you get tired of them. Real friendships are hard work, often fraught with pain and difficulty. The people you really know are the people you’ve caught still in their dressing-gowns (or vice versa), the people you’ve cried and sweated with, the people you’ve shaken your head in despair over (or vice versa). Such are my true friends, some of whom are now also blogging friends. But to those I haven’t met in the flesh, I have to confess: You’re not my friends. I like your blogs, I enjoy the mental stimulation of exchanging ideas with you, and I would love to meet you one day so that we could actually get to know each other. Until then, I have to say: Let’s be acquaintances.